Trained Tracks

If you would like to see humanity at its best and worst, I highly recommend a trip on public transit during rush hour. Throw in a far-reaching service disruption and prepare yourself for a show.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in such a situation. A transit shutdown led me to a cozy crawl towards my destination aboard a sardine can/societal microcosm.

It was an experience. The range of reactions to a transportation inconvenience were all present or hoping to board this “angst express.”.

We had the “outraged”, who were positive that they had been waiting the longest and were the most inconvenienced of us all. We had the “sitting instructors”, who could not see what was going on. They did not let that stop them from telling anyone within earshot what they should or should not do. We even had some “hopeless optimists”, who seemed incapable of seeing or hearing that there was no room.

Together, this unlikely brood made its way toward countless destinations. During the course of this chaotic careening, something amazing happened, or rather some things.

Heavy items were lifted for strangers by strangers. Paths were made by those who did not need them for those who did. Loud voices were raised on behalf of the quieter ones. An inconvenience was turned into conversations. Passengers turned to the person next to them for directions instead of their phones.

Our tried, true, and trained tracks had been disrupted, yet we still managed to get where we were going. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t ideal, and it definitely wasn’t on time, but we made it. And in our own ways, helped others to do the same.

Be Kind. Be Brave. Stay Awkward. …and thank your public transit drivers.

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